Cyberattack Compromised Some of Walgreens’ Data – Beware of Medicare Scams

Cyber attack, walgreens

We recently had a client come to California Senior Medicare Patrol with a valid letter from Cencora, a pharmaceutical drug distribution company in Pennsylvania. The letter shared about a cyberattack that happened in February 2024, warned that this person’s medical data and information was compromised, and advised on actions to take and ways to watch out for fraud. This client filled medications at Walgreens, and apparently a segment of the data system used by Walgreens was compromised and related to Cencora’s cyberattack/data breach.

Then, later that same week, one of our own staff reported that she received a scam call from “Walgreen headquarters” and that they had her name, address, Medicare number and date of birth. They wanted to send her a knee brace “with a massage device for the pain in her knees”. All they needed was her doctor’s name to authorize it. She asked the caller to read back her Medicare number and they did. Our staff member hung up at that point, and then this scammer called back with the name of one of her husband’s doctors asking if this was her doctor. She said no, hung up and then reported it to one of our SMP Fraud Investigative Analysts. She also shared that her husband fills his prescriptions at Walgreens.

We are sharing both these cases to highlight that while this data breach happened to one company in a different state, it has impacted millions of individuals, including Medicare beneficiaries here in California and including one of our own staff who is highly vigilant in protecting her Medicare number and aware of fraud. This data breach and its far-reaching consequences demonstrates just how interconnected and vulnerable the multitudes of data systems are that are used by insurance companies, pharmacies, and medical providers, and how anyone is vulnerable to fraud.

If you fill your prescriptions at Walgreens, your personal information and medical identity may or may not have been compromised in Cencora’s recent data breach. Though it is good to stay vigilant, and review your Medicare statements for any suspicious charges, or items or services you never received. If you spot suspected Medicare fraud, report it to our California Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-855-613-7080. Also, visit our website to learn more ways you can help prevent and detect Medicare fraud.

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.